Stepping closer in our Towards Outstanding journey. by Caroline Donovan CEO @combinednhs

Hi all… 

Caroline Donovan CEO Web

The most recent examples of my blog have really demonstrated how our journey towards outstanding is gathering in pace and delivery.  This week’s continues that trend.

Latest Trust Board meeting

As usual, I was able to update the latest Trust Board meeting on developments from across Combined in my CEO Board Report, many of which will already be familiar to regular readers of my CEO Blog and which this month included:

  • Our Board Development focus on team working and futher communicating ‘Towards Outstanding’
  • Our latest progress on implementing our new localities structures;
  • ​Preparations for REACH 2018
  • Our latest awards success at HSJ and Healthcare Financial Management Association
  • Our appearance in front of the Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee;
  • Positive feedback on our Improvement Plan for the Stoke-on-Trent CQC System Review
  • Discussion of integrated community teams at the meeting of the Health and Care Transformation Board;
  • Confirmation of our selection by NHS Digital for the moblisation phase of the Lorenzo Digital Exemplar Programme;
  • Our Finance Team being awarded Future Focussed Finance Accreditation;
  • Continued relationship building with the Positive Practice Mental Health Collaborative;
  • Introduction of Schwartz rounds to the Trust; and
  • Introduction of our first Care Co-ordination workshops

​If you wish to read my full Board Report, you can do so by clicking here

REACH spotlight goes to Jacquie Shenton

This month’s REACH spotlight at the Board went to Jacquie Shenton, who was recently promoted to the position of Consultant Nurse in the Learning Disabilities Directorate. Prior to this Jacquie was the Matron and Governance Lead for the Directorate which involved providing professional nursing advice, clinical leadership, line management to the Assessment & Treatment and Children’s Short Breaks Service as well as providing a quality and governance role to the whole directorate.

A key part of this role is to introduce ways of continuously improving the quality of the service and maintain high standards of care, including the development of a robust and focussed clinical pathway.  This was co-produced with staff on several away days as part of the inpatient service transformation work; it was then shared and agreed with commissioners and the regional Transforming Care lead.  An important part of this pathway was to have a workforce who were skilled and competent at delivering a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) approach to some of our most critically and acutely unwell service users.

Jacquie has clearly demonstrated all of the Trust values and in particular she has shown compassion and responsibility through her commitment to work with service users and families and across professional groups to improve service quality and to support staff to embrace new ways of working.

Patient Story highlights the value of Walking Football 

As you will know, we have been making efforts over recent months to make greater use of video patient stories at Board and at our Committees. These bring the genuine voice of service users and the staff who support them to the heart of our proceedings and can really have an immediate impact in ways that paper reports can’t.  Finding new ways to hear the voice of service users and their families is something that I believe is incredibly important.

We had a great example of this with our Patient Story featuring Philip and Jill. Philip has early onset vascular dementia.  In the patient story, Philip and his wife Jill talk about the condition, how it affects them, and their admiration and enjoyment of the Walking Football initiative, led by Dave Bloor.

It was even better to be able to welcome Dave and Jill to attend the Board to see their film broadcast for the first time and have a follow-up discussion expanding on the points made in their film

You can watch Dave and Jill’s story below. For more information on Walking Football – contact

Medical Leadership Event

It was great this week to be invited to the medical leadership workshop, at Port Vale Football Club, chaired by our Medical Director, Dr Buki Adeyemo. It was great to have a discussion about the future and the key role our medical workforce play in delivering high quality care. There are a number of future developments that the medics were keen to be involved including working more closely with GPs through our new locality working.

In this regard, it was really useful that our Director of Operations Jonathan O’Brien was able to deliver a presentation on our vision for transformation through locality working and John Tachhi, our Programme Director for Integration, on the strategic landscape in North Staffordshire

Local System

I met up with the seven senior leaders across the Staffordshire Health and Care economy one evening this week to have some time away from work and business agendas to discuss how we are working together and how we can continue to improve the urgent care system by working even more effectively together.

I also chaired the CQC system review improvement board where we reviewed the continued progress made across our organisations. We did a deep dive into how we are managing end of life care and how we could continue to improve this.

Announcement on NHS funding

It was very welcome to hear the outcome of discussions between 10 Downing Street, HM Treasury and NHS England on a future 5-10 year funding settlement for the NHS.  The details were set out in a speech by the Prime Minister last week, in which she said

  • NHS funding will grow on average by 3.4 per cent in real terms each year from 2019/20 to 2023/24.
  • By 2023/24 the NHS England budget will increase by £20.5 billion in real terms compared with today. That means it will be £394 million a week higher in real terms.
  • We also know we need to improve social care and continue to support prevention and public health, both for the benefits they bring in themselves and to relieve pressure on NHS care.
  • So we will come forward with proposals to put social care on a more sustainable footing. And we will set out budgets for both social care and public health as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.

The PM also stressed her personal commitment to mental health.

“We will not have succeeded in building the NHS of the future unless we recognise the importance of looking after our mental health, just as much as our physical health, and we put the resources in to mental healthcare to make that a reality. So these are my five priorities: Putting the patient at the heart of how we organise care; a workforce empowered to deliver the NHS of the future; harnessing the power of innovation; a focus on prevention, not just cure; and true parity of care between mental and physical health.”

Personal Development Review

Its important for us all to sit down at least once a year and reflect on how the previous year has gone and discuss the year ahead. Its good to celebrate what has gone well  and think through where things may not have gone as we had hoped and what development support we may need. This week the Chairman and I sat down to discuss my PDR. It’s an important process for me and one that I take time preparing for. Sometimes we are so busy in moving on the next priority we don’t realise how much has been done so it was really positive to discuss this.

The Executive team in partnership with the Board have spent detailed time developing our priorities for next year which we record in our Board Assurance Framework which is a detailed document which sets out what we are going to deliver and is the substance of each Executives objectives

REACH preparations enter the final straight!

Less than 2 weeks to go to the annual REACH Awards and the excitement is mounting. I spent some time early in the week with the film crew preparing our annual Review of the Year film which we’ll be unveiling at the event and it was a sheer joy being able to reflect on the fantastic year we’ve had.

The voting ended this week on the Proud to CARE Award, which as you may remember we introduced as a new innovation last year.  It’s what I call the Players’ Player award, because it’s voted on by the staff, and it’s clear you like it because you’ve got involved this year in record numbers!  Over 250 votes were received from frontline staff and they were spread across the whole range of candidates.

We’ve also had a record number of people applying to attend.  The Comms Team will be hard at it this week nailing down the final arrangements and it promises to be a fantastic night.  Remember, for those of you not able to attend, we’ll be livestreaming the whole event via our Facebook Page – I’ll let you have full details in next week’s blog.